The Archeology of Sivu'ovi: The Archaic to Basketmaker Transition at Petrified Forest National Park

Author(s): Jeffery F. Burton

Year: 1991


During 1989 and 1990, small-scale excavations were conducted at Sivu'ovi (AZ Q:1 :114 [ASM]), Petrified Forest National Park, Arizona. Sivu'ovi is a large (12-acre) Basketmaker II site that includes the remains of over 45 pit structures. Also within the site boundary, but not tested as part of the current fieldwork, are several small field houses that date to a later Pueblo period occupation. The site contains an abundance of artifacts on the surface, including Adamana Brown pottery, the

earliest identified ware in the region.

Two eroding pit structures, two extramural units, and five shovel tests were excavated at the site. In addition, archeologists conducted a systematic surface collection of artifacts in a 180-square-meter area. Over the course of the project, two extramural features were excavated and three main stratigraphic divisions were discerned. Over 3,600 artifacts, ecofacts, and other samples were collected, including four complete or fully restorable Adamana Brown vessels, a partially restorable Adamana Brown vessel, 1,072 sherds, over 2,600 flaked stone artifacts, 26 ground-stone artifacts, numerous and varied floral and faunal remains, and over 35 other artifacts and samples. Analyses included soil chemistry, pollen, maerobotanical, and faunal analyses, ceramic and flaked stone classification, radiocarbon, archaeomagnetic, and obsidian hydration dating, and x-ray fluorescence sourcing of obsidian. The current project also allowed a re-evaluation of data (including radiocarbon dating) from the contemporaneous Flattop Site.

Chronometric data indicate a pre-AD. 300 date for occupation at Sivu'ovi and the Flattop Site, perhaps as early as 300 B.C. at Sivu'ovi. However, occupation from AD. 1 to 200 may be the best estimate at this time for the Basketmaker II occupation at both sites. These are the earliest dates yet for sites with ceramics in the middle Little Colorado River region. Lithic analysis indicates that the lithic technology, with a high percentage of formal tools and faceted platforms, shows stronger affinities with the Archaic tradition than with the later Pueblo period, while ground stone at Sivu'ovi most resembles Pueblo period types. In both respects Sivu'ovi appears to be transitional between the Archaic and Pueblo periods.

Pollen, floral, and faunal analyses indicate that the natural environment at the time of occupation of Sivu' ovi was roughly similar to present conditions, but may have been slightly wetter. The ubiquity of maize in the floral and pollen samples suggests a heavy dependence on maize agriculture, but several species of wild plants were used as well. Although limited in number, faunal remains tentatively indicate that jackrabbit, prairie dog, artiodactyls, and turtle were procured. Architecture and artifact caches at both Sivu'ovi and the Flattop Site indicate that the locales served as warm-season residential sites.

Testing confirmed that Sivu'ovi contains abundant and varied data, and further work at the site is recommended to mitigate the effects of continued erosion and to realize more of the site's information potential.

Cite this Record

The Archeology of Sivu'ovi: The Archaic to Basketmaker Transition at Petrified Forest National Park. Jeffery F. Burton. Publications in Anthropology ,55. Tucson, Arizona: Western Archeological and Conservation Center. 1991 ( tDAR id: 4293) ; doi:10.6067/XCV80R9N47

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: 1 to 200

Spatial Coverage

min long: -109.909; min lat: 34.786 ; max long: -109.852; max lat: 34.821 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contributor(s): Marcia L. Donaldson; Suzanne K. Fish; William B. Gillespie; Richard E. Hughes; Kathleen M. McConnell; Kennth J. McIvers; Thomas M. Origer; John C. Sheppard

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